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An internet observation
The comment threads on Eschaton are the political equivilent of the talkbacks on Ain’t it Cool News. Just page after page of goofy, insane, sarcastic bitching, often very funny. Example – the comments on this thread. (Note: “Chimpeach!” is a lefty blog catchphrase meaning “the president looks like a monkey and should be impeached. Yeah, I don’t get it either.”)

CHIMPEEEEEEEACH!
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Impeach Lord Dim von Wit and doubly for Cardinal Cardiac
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Only 50% do NOT “share this view”?

Wow.

During the attempt to impeach Clinton’s penis, I don’t remember the numbers ever coming even close to that.
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Expect Zogby to be put through the wringer for asking the impeachment question. Remember, Chimpy could celebrate July 4th by wiping his arse with the Declaration of Independence, and Instafuckwit would link with ‘Heh. Indeed.’
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definitely in the last throes of his presidency
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Chimpeach ALL these mother fucking traitors!
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ELizabeth! This is the big one!
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40 before the 4th! The margin of error is such that we can pretty much claim it now! 35 by the 5th!
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Zogby. That’s a middle eastern name, isn’t it? Is he a SWARTHY man?
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Hey let’s get Zogby to take this poll and see what the results are?

Q: Should we impeach Vice President Cheney just to fuck with him?

I bet we get pretty good numbers.
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“supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.”
— Zogby

“No shit.”
–bunker buster

This isn’t even one of the dumber threads. Look for the ones with 600+ comments – they’re awesome.

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News you won’t get anywhere else
Natalee Holloway is/was not very attractive. I’d say she is/was a 4. Scrawny, blank eyes, big nose.

Surely this “pretty white girl missing” news fixation must end when the missing girls cease to be pretty.

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Kate O’Beirne
I don’t love her, but I love this:

Would we be less concerned with the fate of Natalee Holloway if she had been manning a checkpoint outside Fallujah along with other 18-year-old American girls rather than gone missing from a high school graduation celebration in Aruba?

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Rove
One of my pet peeves is the assignment of grand, historical, Hari Seldon-style powers to Karl Rove. To wit, the other day in New York he said this:

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.

Liberal Democrats, mostly those six representing the three states that house most 9/11 victims, called for an apology. Some people think this was what Rove wanted all along.

Trouble is, those demands just provide an excuse for Republicans to repeat every single stupid or unpatriotic thing that every Democratic politician ever said. And there are a lot of those. … And because the usual suspects in the media could be expected to pick up on the Rove story much faster than the Durbin story (as they did) now there’s a news hook.

Yeah, he’s pretty smart.

And Glenn links to a bunch of people with the same thoughts. More of this:

Pounding the table about how Democrats aren’t insecure therapy-seeking wimps doesn’t seem like a very helpful argument for the Democrats to be having in the national media.

Goldberg isn’t actually saying that Rove trapped Democrats into doing that, but the sentiments are reflected in the “Rove-a-dope” crowd.

This is why I think Democrats are actually playing this one right.

1.)Rove didn’t plan it. By appearences, the GOP was caught off guard – an organization that can blast Howard Dean within nanoseconds of a gaffe took around 8 hours after Democrats began attacking to come up with a statement. The statement, which spotlights controversial things liberals and Democrats have said about terrorism, is actually fairly crappy – quotes are out of order, big deal quotes are forgotten (Sen. Patty Murray’s praise of a humanitarian bin Laden), most of the quotes don’t actually reactions to 911, and it’s apparently assembled from other old press releases.

By all means, politicans in the Rovesphere often bait their opponents. In mid-2004, George Bush started putting a line in his speeches about whether John Kerry would still vote “yes” on the Iraq force resolution. The intention, as revealed by Newsweek and in “Boy Genius,” was to bait Kerry into responding with a gaffe, and it sort of worked (he said he would have voted for it because it was “the right authority for a president to have,” which nonetheless reinforced his flip-lop image).

But given the speed of response, the nature of the quote (the “therapy” part seems to be a riff on a Liam Neeson line in Batman Begins), and the location, it would seem that Rove was just giving a red meat speech and the media-savvy/whore New York Democrats/Clinton campaign found it and ran with the ball. They did the same when NY GOP chairman Stephen Minarik compared Democrats to convicted terrorism lawyer Lynne Stewart, and Minarik fumbled badly – Gov. Pataki distanced himself from that comment.

Actually, as I write this, McClellan is dissembling on the quote and claiming that Democrats have aligned themselves with MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. Which segues nicely …

2.) Democrats are not hurting their image. Republicans have been saying what Rove said for three years, in the media and in election campaigns. You’re familiar with the obvious examples (“sensitive war,” etc), but here’s one of my favorites.

At the end of the 2004 campaign, with Kerry ahead in the Pennsylvania polls, Democrat Lois Murphy was running in a dead heat against incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach. A week before the campaign, Gerlach ran an ad on the premise that MoveOn.org had endorsed Murphy. Here’s one media account.

In one television ad sponsored by the Gerlach campaign, on screen text reads, “HOW DESPERATE IS LOIS MURPHY.” Following a screening of a Murphy photo, the same visual reads, “OPPOSED Taliban Retaliation after 9/11.”

Murphy said that the next portion of the commercial goes “really beyond the pale.” A camera then pans over a map of Afghanistan, with text which flashes across the screen that reads and implies that Murphy, “sanctioned rape” and then “public executions.”

“Of course, I knew that there would be unpleasant and maybe unfair attacks, but even so, I never imagined my opponent would go this far,” said Murphy. “The charges inthe ads are pure fiction. They have no basis in anything I’ve ever said, done or stood for.”

Gerlach Press Secretary John Gentzel said during a Thursday interview, that the ads are in reaction to MoveOn.org, a national organization, which made contributions to the Murphy campaign.

“We think the ads are accurate,” said Gentzel. “We have all the documentation to back them up. We think it is extremely fair for us to tell the voters what groups and organizations Lois Murphy is affiliated with.”

The ad was really something – one friend connected with the campaign called it the “six degrees of rape” commercial. And all Murphy did was accept an endorsement from MoveOn and endorsements from MoveOn donors. The point: If Democrats voted for every military bill and pro-war resolution in the next two years, Republicans would still be on the radio and in TV ads comparing them to MoveOn, Michael Moore, and by extension, terrorists. In the past, they’ve responsed to such attacks by – no offense to Ms. Murphy – whining like little girls. I don’t see how actively attacking and demanding resignations for these attacks is a worse strategy.

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Messages
Annoying: Coming back from a vacation and finding a backlog of voicemails.
Really annoying: Finding out that more than half of these messages are from some genius thinking your number is a fax machine. These messages go like this: “BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.”
Really fucking annoying: Finding that your phone will not delete these messages until you’ve heard all of them beginning to end.

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Movies
Saw some. Got some thoughts.

Batman Begins
Three-quarters of a fantastic superhero movie, and one quarter of a Steven Segal movie. Allow me to explain.

The acting, plotting and look of this movie is pretty much fantastic, on par with Superman, Spider-Man, and X-2. Batman’s origin story is fast-paced and perfectly executed – it makes a well-worn comic cliche fresh by playing with chronology and adding cinematic twists. Christian Bale’s performances as Batman and as Bruce Wayne are equally solid, and different – unlike the previous Batsuit wearers, he masks his voice and attitude when in crime-fighting mode. It’d be difficult to say much about the movie without spoiling it, save to say that it eschews the “let’s make the plot simplistic and dumb so that people can concentrate on the awesome costumes” tactic of other superflicks. That being said, the fight scenes and battles that cap off the movie are sort of pedestrian. 4 out of 5 stars.

Cinderella Man
Like Rocky, but it’s during the Great Depression and Apollo Creed is a Jew. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Slandertastic
I’m beginning to think Ed Klein is a Clinton-Soros-Elders of Zion plant. It’s pretty hard to read his book or hear him talk and not want to vote for Hillary to piss him off.

I mean, “she’s given all kinds of signals that her sexuality is in question”? That’s 20 pounds of asshole in a 10 pound bag.

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San Francisco
As I meant to report earluer on this blog, I left Virginia last Thursday for a long weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. My goals were few:

1)Hang out with Rich Bunnell.

Rich is the editor in chief of the award-winning Daily Californian, the newspaper of the University of California-Berkeley. Prior to this, starting in the mid-1990s, he was a reviewer and later webmaster for Mark Prindle’s record review website. It was on this website in 1996-1998 I got my first experience writing for popular consumption, as did Rich. I moved to England and crapped out of the site – Rich took it over. From the late 1990s to 2003, he was running the hub of a very fun and nearly inexplicable group of music geek community called the Web Reviewing Community, or WRC.

Did I just say it was inexplicable, and then explain it? Sorry. The point is, Rich is one of two people responsible for my entry into journalism and my obsession with music. And I’d never met him til Thursday.

2)Meet Tim Cavanaugh.

The award-winning web editor of Reason magazine, who lives in a particularly homey part of San Francisco and has published some of my forementioned journalism.

3)Buy a shitload of records.

To my knowledge, the Bay area contains two of the best record stores on the planet. One’s the Amoeba in San Francisco, pictured above. The other is the Amoeba in Berkeley.

4)Visit scenic San Francisco.

Writing about San Francisco in any fresh way is really beyond me – the city is so alive and so beautiful that it makes good on all its cliches.

Here’s how it went.

THURSDAY
12:30 pm – Arrive at Oakland airport and navigate public transportation back to Berkeley, where I deposit my luggage at Rich’s co-op.
1:30 – Have lunch (Ghanan food) with Rich and his friends, then return to his place.
3:30 – Shop at Amoeba and then Rasputin music (a lesser but still cool store). Purchase 14 CDs for $58, then find the out of print Galaxie 500 box set for $35.
6:00 – Eat at Top Dog, a quality take-out restaurant near Rich’s place, then walk back home.
9:00 – Go to a bar with Rich and a friend, then come home to crash.

FRIDAY
10:00 am – Wake up and ready for a trip to San Francisco.
11:30 – Walk to BART train with Rich after eating breakfast burrito.
12:00 pm – Arrive in downtown SF, and take a cable car part of the way to the Notes From the Underground Cafe, where I will meet Tim.
12:40 – Meet Tim, then walk to a restaurant to buy a fish taco.
1:00 – Take fish tacos to the bar owned by an erudite friend of Tim. Eat, drink, and converse for hours.
4:00 – Walk, guided by Tim, to the Marina.
5:30 – Picked up by Mike Pap Rocki, another WRC vet and music nerd, with Rich and another WRCer named Mike DeFabio in tow.
6:00 – Arrive at Haight-Ashbury and locate the big Amoeba.
8:00 – Exit Amoeba, buy burritos.
9:20 – Arrive at Slim’s to see The Go-Betweens. Sit through lame opening act that comes to life only during a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Policy of Truth.” Locate GB’s singer Robert Forster watching the opener, and stand beside him before he goes backstage. Watch decent show (7/10) interrupted by a fight.
11:45 – Arrive back in Berkeley, avoid hoodlums that bust up a nearby Chinese restaurant.

SATURDAY
12:30 am – Arrive at Rich’s house, dawdling before going to sleep a few hours later.
12:45 pm – Wake up and go downtown for California-style hamburgers.
2:00 – Go to the downtown (Shaddach st) cineplex and buy tickets for Batman Begins. Hang out in local comic store before movie starts.
5:00 – Exit Batman Begins and return to Rich’s place. Call Mike DeFabio, who lives nearby in Richmond, and schedule hanging out.
7:00 – Mike arrives, and we visit book stores on Telegraph Ave.
9:30 – Rich comes back and takes us to The Patio, a restaurant/bar that plays Brian Eno’s “Here Come the Warm Jets.” Drink local beer and eat lamb sandwich.
11:55 – Leave to meet someone at Top Dog. He never shows.

SUNDAY
1:00 am – Return to co-op and watch an episode of “The Shield.”
11:00 am – Wake up and head to BART station sans Rich. Buy banana and cranberry “smart muffin” (inedible wheat and nut base) for breakfast.
12:00 pm – Arrive in the Mission. Walk up Valencia Street stopping in interesting shops. Sudden diarrhea attack prompts trips to vegetarian restaurant, where I buy a $7 meatless cheesesteak to win bathroom privileges. As universe decrees it, I find $6 on the bathroom floor and defray the meal’s cost.
2:30 – Reach Castro/Market and observe attractive gay couples. Walking up a hill to Haight Street when a cabbie stops and offers me a free ride to Haight/Ashbury.
3:30 – Hit Amoeba again to purchase CD I had put down on Friday. Begin walking to the Golden Gate bridge. March up many hills and then march through most of the Presidio.
5:45 – Reach Golden Gate Bridge and take photos. Am summoned back to Berkeley, and stumble back into downtown through several high-end Presidio neighborhoods and some substantial brush.
7:20 – Locate San Francisco proper and take a bus to the BART station.
8:30 – Arrive in North Berkeley and meet with Rich and friends at bar that’s holding trivia contest. Lose contest, but buy barbecued chicken and eat it.
11:30 – Arrive back at Rich’s. Watch two episodes of “Oz.”

MONDAY
11:00 am – Wake up and pack. Take the books I’ve bought down to the post office to mail them home.
12:30 pm – Meet with Rich and have Chinese food at restaurant with abysmal service.
3:00 – Back at Rich’s, swap CDs and MP3s. Pack the rest of my belongings.
6:00 – Go in the direction of BART. Buy boba and pot-stickers for the ride home.
7:10 – Board BART in direction of San Jose airport.
10:10 – Finally fucking reach San Jose airport. It’s a septic third world pile of skinny terminals and broken soft drink dispensers.
11:00 – Board plane.

Keep in mind, that last event occured at 2 am ET, and five hours later I was transferring planes in Atlanta. Four hours after that I was at the office to work a full day.

All in all: Best trip ever.

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Michelle Malkin: Wrong
This is just too easy. Malkin grabs this Gallup poll and posts it for all to see.

– As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the US should continue to operate this facility or do you think the US should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?

Continue to operate: 58
Close facility: 36
No opinion: 6

– In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?

Approve: 52
Disapprove: 37
No opinion: 11

Quoth the Malkin: “Keep doing what you’re doing, Gitmo-bashers. It’s working wonders.”

Which is funny, because it is working wonders. Gallup has not polled this exact question before, but they asked a set of Guantanamo questions on Jan 25-27, 2002.

Based on what you have heard or read, would you consider the way the U.S. is treating the Taliban soldiers being held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment, or don’t you know enough to say?

Acceptable – 72%
Unacceptable – 4
Don’t know enough to say – 24

Suppose a Taliban soldier were captured during war and held outdoors in an 8 foot by 8 foot cell, and when traveling from one location to another was blindfolded and had his hands bound. Would you consider that to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment?

Acceptable – 76%
Unacceptable – 20
No opinion – 4

So, not the same phrasing as the June 2005 poll, but along similar lines – do you want to stick it to the prisoners at Gitmo? The percentage of people who say they do has fallen from 72%-76% to 52%-58%.

ABC tried out a different wording with a poll in September 2003.

Please tell me if you support or oppose the federal government … holding suspected terrorists without trial at the U.S. (United States) military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Support – 65%
Oppose – 28
No opinion – 7

Look, it’s a sucker’s bet to take a poll showing a slim majority of people saying “keep Guatanamo open” and say that shows “Gitmo-bashers” are flailing and losing ground. Support for all extreme imprisonment or interrogation measures has fallen since 9/11, and will continue falling unless there’s another attack on US soil.

I suppose you could argue that it’s a loser for Democrats to hammer the Gitmo issue, but Malkin’s take is simply wrong.